- Associated Press - Monday, May 11, 2015

Editors: Please note that The Associated Press welcomes editorial contributions from members for the weekly Editorial Roundup. Three editorials are selected every week. Contributions can be made by email at [email protected]


Argus Leader, Sioux Falls, May 9, 2015

Obama’s message an important one for S.D.

President Obama visited South Dakota on Friday, checking us off his list and reaching the milestone of having stepped foot in all 50 states as president.

It was a quick trip, lasting less than two hours, but his visit had plenty of substance.

Obama used the touch-down to visit Watertown’s Lake Area Technical Institute, one of the country’s best community colleges. During his speech to graduates, he stressed the importance of affordable college education.

“Community colleges like this one can be a great place for young people to launch a career,” Obama told the students.

South Dakota is at the center of the issue. The state is facing a shortage of workers in the skilled labor field, and officials and business leaders are trying to desperately fill the void.

In December, the state pledged $25 million to match a $25 million donation from T. Denny Sanford to address workforce development needs. That’s great, but it will only address the financial needs of 250 to 300 students a year.

The state is struggling to make it easier for incoming students to choose these fields - the average tuition for a tech school student was $4,155 in 2013, highest among the states that border South Dakota.

Obama’s speech stressed the importance of the schools. He cited several examples of specific students who have benefited from the two-year programs.

“As a country, we can’t afford to let any striving American be priced out of the education they need to get ahead,” he said.

The plan would cost almost $60 billion and would require states to opt in and help pay for one-quarter of the remaining costs. On Friday, Obama told a Watertown crowd that the plan could be paid for by “closing just one loophole for millionaires and billionaires.”

It’s good to be hesitant about new expenditures, but spending money to make college more affordable would end up paying for itself in benefits to employers and back to the government.

Especially in South Dakota, where young workers are leaving the state in droves. We need to keep them here, and we need to get them in the technical fields that are so desperate for workers.

The president of Mitchell Technical Institute told the Argus Leader that some major businesses have said to him that they might leave the state if the workforce issue doesn’t improve.

Helping students helps businesses. In turn, the state will benefit.


Watertown Public Opinion, Watertown, May 11, 2015

Wow! What a weekend Watertown had


What a day, week, month!

Sure, the word “wow” might be overused these days, and we’re guilty of that. But have you ever witnessed a school and community come together as Watertown did Friday afternoon?

That’s why “WOW!” applies . a “Weekend of Watertown!” the likes of which we haven’t witnessed in a long time.

You have to start with the incredible effort by the staff and administration of Lake Area Technical Institute and our school district. President Mike Cartney, Superintendent Lesli Jutting, Vice President Diane Stiles, Director of Institutional Relations LuAnn Strait, Director of Support Operations Shane Ortmeier, and hundreds of other staff and faculty who pulled off an event the likes of which we won’t see again in a long, long time. Just planning a graduation ceremony is a big task all by itself. But throw into that mix a visit by the President of the United States of America, and suddenly that task became a monumental effort.

Of course, we’d be remiss not acknowledging the countless city workers who spent the hours needed to get our city in just a bit better shape for this time of year. Our police department under the leadership of Chief Lee McPeek and Codington County Sheriff’s Office with Sheriff Toby Wishard at the helm ensured our community was safe and organized to the exact specifications of the White House Secret Service. And all the hundreds of citizen volunteers who cleaned up the ditches and highways/streets on all the major routes into and out of our city. Nice job there as well.

There is no question in our mind, this was a total team effort.

We, like many others this weekend, were struck by how the 4,300 in attendance at the LATI commencement ceremony at Watertown’s Civic Arena, including the 600+ students in graduation garb, handled the nearly 90-minute delayed start of the ceremony. We didn’t hear one complaint. Not one. In fact, from our vantage point, the folks in attendance just took the delay in stride. They used the time to converse, get to know those around them, take some extra photos, text a few messages, and generally just get along.

Think that is unusual? Not for Watertown and the Glacial Lakes Region. That is just how we do things, right? No complaining, no tempers. Just good old-fashioned neighborly getting-along.

And how about South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard and First Lady Linda Daugaard? Besides the Watertown School Board, they were the only elected officials who were with the LATI graduates from start to finish Friday afternoon. The governor personally congratulated each and every graduate as he handed them their diplomas. More than a few in the audience noticed his rock-solid commitment to the event. Thanks governor, your continued support of LATI and Watertown is duly noted!

We’d be remiss if we didn’t comment on the President making this event a priority on his schedule. His remarks were spot on. He and his staff, with the able assistance of LATI administration, did their homework. Have you ever heard a better commencement address than the President delivered to the LATI Class of 2015? Earning a degree and diploma is often enough to motivate a graduate as they depart school and enter the workforce, but we sincerely believe the LATI Class of 2015 will start their jobs with just a bit quicker step than those before them. We’ll be watching the members of this class to see what they can do, especially if they simply follow one or two of the great life messages presented on Friday afternoon.

We won’t be the only ones this Monday morning wondering how we will ever top what happened Friday. But for now, we are going to enjoy the moment, reflect on the event and the weeks leading up to Friday’s ceremony. It’s time to “smell the roses” . at least for a few minutes.

Wow! What a “Weekend of Watertown!”


Aberdeen American News, Aberdeen, May 10, 2015

Remember the Waldorf Hotel

A piece of South Dakota history crumbled to the ground Thursday afternoon.

More importantly, the tiny Day County town of Andover has lost a landmark fixture that employed and entertained generations of local residents.

The Waldorf Hotel building, empty for about 45 years, lost a wall on Wednesday. It was decided that, for safety reasons, the old beauty had to come down.

Another piece of history, lost.

Another tie that binds small towns together, gone.

Andover residents had reason to be proud of the hotel, which brought a touch of the ornate to the prairie.

Even though it no longer functioned as a hotel and restaurant, the locals always could boast that they were home to such a piece of history.

No more.

We hate to see our smallest towns take any more hits, especially one as literal as a demolition crew knocking down a local legend.

In July 1903, the Aberdeen Daily American trumpeted the new facility:

“The new hotel at Andover has been named the Waldorf and it has been leased by C.H. Dixon, an old time traveling man and ex-landlord. The new hotel is the best in the state of South Dakota for the size of the town.”

“The Waldorf, the new hotel at Andover, will be opened on August 6th. It cost $16,000 and is a fine building for a town the size of Andover.”

Now, only memories.

We hope those Andover families will always remember.

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